NEW CASTLE, N.Y. -- In recognition of its drive to go green, the Town of New Castle was recently named the first small community the state and first community in Westchester County to be designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
New Castle received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative:
- Implemented Community Choice Aggregation, where residents and businesses in the town pool their demand for energy and take part in a bulk purchase of 100 percent clean, renewable electricity.
- Established an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits in the town.
- Approved an energy benchmarking policy to track and report energy use in the town’s municipal buildings.
- Adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to streamline the approvals process for local solar projects.
“We’re greener in every sense of the word,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein, adding that the project undertaken by the town are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
Announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in August, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects.
The Clean Energy Community designation gives New Castle, considered a small community because its population is less than 40,000, can now apply for up to $100,000 toward additional clean-energy projects, with no local cost share.
Greenstein said the town’s staff and sustainability advisory board has about 15 projects under consideration for the grant money. Those will be narrowed down and presented to the town board at a meeting on Feb. 7.
“We have to make a decision soon after,” Greenstein said, because the town has three months from the time it was given notice of the Dec. 21 to apply for grant money. “There’s $100,000 that’s just waiting for us and we just have to submit projects that meet the criteria, and we obviously have to decide on those projects.”